JLL Spark Buys CRE Software Company

The San Francisco-based firm purchased a software-as-a-service real estate technology platform that, among other things, lets investors manage their portfolios' performance.
Yishai Lerner, Heath Silverman, Jonah Schwartz and Mihir Shah
Yishai Lerner, Heath Silverman, Jonah Schwartz and Mihir Shah

JLL Spark, a division of JLL, has acquired a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based real estate technology platform. Stessa—“assets” spelled backwards—reportedly lets investors in income properties easily and cost-effectively track, manage and communicate the performance of their portfolios.

This is JLL Spark’s first strategic acquisition since its inception last year and is touted as delivering on the company’s mission “to transform the real estate industry through technology-based innovation.” Both JLL Spark and Stessa are headquartered in San Francisco.

Structured by JLL to operate independently and without the typical constraints of corporate “innovation” or venture arms, JLL Spark is led by Mihir Shah and Yishai Lerner. The two are Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with track records of building and investing in tech companies, who have a direct line to JLL’s global CEO.

Optimizing a real estate portfolio can involve tedious manual effort, which is why many investors see suboptimal returns,” Co-CEO Shah said in a prepared statement. “We chose Stessa as our first acquisition because its innovative product fills a gap in the market for small-to-medium investors.”

Stessa was reportedly “built by real estate investors for real estate investors” and intends to make CRE asset management “as easy as traditional investment categories such as equities.”

As real estate investors ourselves, we created Stessa to solve the biggest pain points associated with our own investments: ongoing asset management and portfolio optimization,” said Heath Silverman, CEO & co-founder of Stessa.

Filling an important gap

While many software tools provide valuation, performance benchmarking, real-time analysis and ongoing optimization to equity investors, JLL Spark contends that few such capabilities exist in CRE. Stessa’s platform reportedly solves this problem, by giving property owners “real-time views into their holdings, resulting in increased transparency across their real estate assets,” while also streamlining burdensome paperwork and reporting requirements.

Stessa also promotes its bank-grade encryption, using multi-layer key management encryption for all sensitive information, and its strict internal controls.

Stessa’s software has been in beta-testing for the past year with a select group of early customers representing nearly half a billion dollars in income properties, according to JLL Spark.

Image courtesy of JLL